During this year, my “Woman” series has developed further, becoming more abstract. But, as American artist Joan Mitchell (1925-92) said, “All art is abstract. All music is abstract. But it’s all real…” I have long been concerned about the physical and mental violence endured by women, right across the board. It can be domestic or social violence, or “medical misadventure”. Then there is self-inflicted violence. This latter also includes cosmetic surgery, undergone in response to constant peer and social media pressure to conform to unrealistic expectations of female beauty.
Violence may leave visible scars – the result of physical abuse, or botched surgery. Mental scarring is not so visible. In my “Old Bag” series (2015-16), I covered torn and stitched-up wool packs (fadges) with brightly-coloured paint and glitter to discuss how women hide or disguise their scars, pretending the violence is not happening.
My “Woman” series is now exposing the cuts and slashes, as well as the stitches and patch-up jobs.
Violence is not OK. These issues need to be brought into the open. Artists have a responsibility and a unique means to do this. As a woman artist who has not only observed, but also experienced physical and mental violence, I own that responsibility.
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